Three Up, Three Down

As the sun set and temperatures fell, the Raider field hockey team put on an impressive performance under the Friday night lights. Following last weekend’s loss to Rider, the Raiders were able to get back on the winning track with a dominating 3-0 victory over St. Francis on Friday evening at Tyler’s Field.

Right out of the gate, the women came out swinging with their sticks as well as a determined mindset. For the first 15 minutes, the game was played unilaterally on St. Francis’ side. Quickly, it became apparent that the Raider offense would not back off without scoring a goal. The hard work was worth the effort, when first-year Laura Flisnik netted her second goal of the year to put the Raiders on the board.

“This game was the first time we started seeing combinations, playing together as a team and really working well together,” Flisnik said. “Our offense did a great job recognizing our teammates, reading the defense and really capitalizing on opportunities.”

Not to be forgotten amidst the barrage of offense was the play of junior goalie Jacque DeMarco. Once St. Francis could initiate some movement of its own, they tested her and DeMarco did not disappoint. During a penalty corner that could have tied the game, DeMarco showed fans and players why she is the reigning Patriot League Goalie of the Year. Although she finished with only one save, her play on Friday evening went well beyond what any box score could tell you.

In addition, senior Carolyn Daly came into the game midway through the second half and picked up right where DeMarco had left off, as the D&D goalie duo combined to shut St. Francis out.

“I can’t say enough about Jacque and Carolyn,” head coach Cathy Foto said. “They are a major reason for our success. They work extremely hard in practice and have made our attackers move to the next level. They have both really done a lot of work to get this young team focused and ready defensively.”

With the Raider defense playing well, the offense took care of the rest. In the 28th minute, Flisnik struck again, beating St. Francis goalie Kristen Onto right on the doorstep. Flisnik, in only her first season, currently ranks third in the Patriot League in. She attributes her success to “realizing how hard and dedicated the girls on this team are, especially the upperclassmen, which helps me step up my game everyday in trying to give them support as a reliable offensive player. The impact I have had so far has been mainly because of Coach Foto and Coach [Megan] Monahan helping me improve my game in order to compete at this level.”

Two minutes after halftime, senior captain Dana Shaner scored her third goal of the season, the final score in the well-balanced victory. The offense totaled 25 shots, including 12 corners.

The win provided some momentum, heading into what turned out to be one of the most compelling matches in recent memory. The Raiders persevered in a 3-2 victory against Columbia on Sunday afternoon at Tyler’s Field.

From the start, the Raiders wanted to dictate the pace and style of the game. Early on, the Raiders got their offense flowing by initiating shots on goal, and attaining penalty corners. Columbia did not back down, however, as the Lions were able to penetrate the Raider defense and draw first blood six minutes into the contest. Columbia’s Megan Davidson fired in a rebound shot that beat DeMarco.

Colgate sought to even the score, but the team seemed out of rhythm. Nevertheless, the persistent effort eventually paid off, when Shaner scored her fourth goal of the season at the top of the circle to tie the game at one.

Shaner then continued her excellent season, as she scored again on the very next Raider penalty corner to give the Raiders the lead. Her teammates rave about Shaner’s ability to help the team.

“Nothing she has done thus far has really surprised me, as much as she has impressed me,” sophomore Heather Davis said. “By creating plays and changing the dynamics of the game, it only convinces me more that she is a major cause of the team’s success.”

“I look at her and only hope to be half as good as she is during my time at Colgate,” Flisnik said. “Her role on this team is so significant and instrumental in making our team a great team.”

While the offense found its footing, the Raider defense settled down. Following the early goal, DeMarco denied any further attempts, while defenders, senior Jenn Weisholz and sophomores Davis and Molly Kimball did their share in maintaining the Raider lead.

Following halftime, both teams raised the intensity level. “When two teams play as intense as each other, it is normally because each team has something to prove to themselves, as well as to the other team,” Davis said. “Becoming intense just shows how much a team wants to win.”

After Columbia scored to tie the game at two, Foto called time to regroup her squad. The Raiders came out of the timeout firing, as the team notched 11 second-half shots, compared to three for the Lions. The Raiders suffered a brief setback when first-year Lauren Carey was called for a yellow card and temporarily forced to the bench; but despite being outnumbered, the Lions were unable to muster a goal.

Once Carey reentered the game, Colgate regained the upper hand and, with four minutes remaining, the team drove deep into Columbia territory. There, sophomore Lauren Remkus came up huge. In her first start of the year, she scored her first goal of the year at the opportune moment; and the defense closed the door as the Colgate went on to win by a goal.

The Raiders then came back on Wednesday night, as the team entertained the home crowd on and off the field on Ladies’ Night at Tyler’s Field. Shirts, prizes and gifts were given away in what turned out to be a very successful recruiting campaign.

On the field, the Raiders did not disappoint their large contingent. In a span of 14 minutes, Colgate showed fans what their support means to the team. Remkus scored two goals and first-years Flisnik and Maddie Watrobski each added a tally to stake the Raiders to a 4-0 halftime lead.

“We always aim to score in the first five minutes of the game,” Remkus said. “It is beneficial because we get to play our game, our style that we practice everyday. We do not want to have to adjust to someone else’s playing style and play catch up the whole game.”

That was more than plenty for DeMarco, who made her job look very simple by not having to make a single save. The Saints did not attain any penalty corners, managed one shot and were lucky to get the one goal they scored.

Ladies’ Night turned out to be a huge success and fans should have been given enough encouragement to come out and support the Raiders on a regular basis. The team is in the middle of a five-game homestand, of which the Raiders have won all three thus far. With the win, Colgate is now 4-1 on the season and seeks to continue its success over the weekend, when the team faces off with Robert Morris and Lock Haven.